And so, it begins—the transformation of my once broken soul, into a strong, confident, happy, and balanced person.
I was once an anxious, scared little girl living inside a grown woman’s body. I cared so much about what others thought of me, I was terrified of making decisions—and although I appeared extremely confident on the outside, my insides would scream at me that I was not good enough.
I still feel that way at times. Insecure and sad, abandoned and scared. The difference now is that I honor those feelings instead of trying to push them away.
Navigating through childhood “stuff,” loss of significant people in your life, loss of what you perceived as love, and recognizing and dealing with bad choices and their consequences are all heavy burdens to handle. Not all of us are equipped with the tools to deal with most of these things. These are the things that can destroy us internally.
However, through my own phoenix process, I have learned that if you feel your feelings and don’t try to push them away, you will work through them much faster—and most of the time they will pass (if you let them). Holding on to them can feel like you are protecting yourself, like a shield, but the reality is you are only hurting yourself and prolonging your healing.
If you do everything in your power to avoid feeling your feelings—by drinking, drugs, sex, pornography, overplanning your time, or clinging to relationships—you are prolonging the entire process of healing and actually making things worse.
It takes time to process feelings, and avoiding them doesn’t make them go away. Unfortunately, they get stored in our subconscious, and eventually those thoughts and feelings you are trying to avoid will come seeping out—through anxiety, depression, nightmares, anger, or however your body wants to process them. There is no escaping these thoughts and feelings, no matter how much you drink, eat, have sex, or whatever. They will always be there.
So my advice is to truly feel your feelings—cry until there are no more tears left—and please know that at some point this period of sadness and anxiety will pass, and you will feel so much better as you catapult to the next stage of healing.
We are truly the directors of our own lives, and we have the ability to construct our lives exactly how we want them to be. With a little time and effort, you can live the life you want—within reason. Set your expectations to a realistic measure and start making better choices that involve self-care and self-love. Remove toxic people from your life, think before you act, and focus on how you would like to feel. Everything is about feelings—love is a feeling, sadness is a feeling, happiness is a feeling. Construct your life in a way that makes you feel good.
But, also understand that you will not be happy every single day of your life. There will be days you question yourself, your friends, your lover, and your choices. That is okay. How in the world would we recognize things are “good” if there was no “bad”? We wouldn’t. The bad times are what help us appreciate all the good we have.
Write down 10 things in your life that you are grateful for, and smile as you write them. Say each thing out loud, and say “thank you” with true gratitude.
I am personally grateful for so many things: my beautiful children, my peaceful home, yoga, Luke (my beautiful, smart Golden Retriever), my friendships, food and water, my career and financial stability, my gardens, nature, travel, amazing coffee. The list really and truly is endless.
Everyone can list what they lack—the things they don’t have, the things they want, the things they miss—but that just creates more lacking. Focusing on what you do have will help you attract more and more wonderful things, even if they aren’t exactly what you want. The universe has an incredible way of providing us what we need.
As a survivor of abandonment and trauma, I can tell you that the mind is a very powerful thing, and it is actually what gets us into trouble 99 percent of the time.
We create most of our own issues by:
>> Focusing on the past and not whats happening in front of us,
>> Ruminating and allowing thoughts to run rapid in our minds.
>> Not appreciating the things we have and creating a feeling of lacking.
>> Not letting go of anger.
>> Not dealing with our issues and letting them fester inside us.
>> Loving people who are wrong for us and treat us poorly.
>> Not valuing ourselves and putting ourselves first.
>> Not practicing self-love and self-care.
>> Allowing others to define our worth.
>> Giving away our power.
We do not have to do this. We can gain control of our thoughts (if not fully, at least partially) and redirect them. It takes practice and consistency, but through yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, it can be done.
Doing this has significantly changed my life, and it can change yours.
Feel your feelings, let them in, and let them go.
Image: Unsplash/Tanja Heffner
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina